Pirates notebook: Burnett starts finding rhythm, pitches into 5th
By Karen Price
Published: Saturday, March 9, 2013, 7:51 p.m.
Updated: Wednesday, March 27, 2013
BRADENTON, Fla. — Pirates ace A.J. Burnett didn't pitch exceptionally well during his first two outings of spring, but he threw into the fifth inning Saturday against the Minnesota Twins and effectively mixed in curveballs.
“It's just good to get out there every five days because it is a process. That's what we try to tell these guys here is that it's not going to happen overnight,” Burnett said. “We've been sitting for four months. This was obviously a lot sharper than my last two, and I expect the next one to be a lot sharper. Each time you get out there you're going to be more comfortable.”
Burnett went two innings in his first start and 11⁄3 in his second and gave up four runs in each outing. He went 42⁄3 innings against the Twins and allowed two runs and two hits. He walked two and struck out three.
The Pirates' Jameson Taillon will get the start for Canada in Sunday's game against the United States in the World Baseball Classic.
“I'm really excited that I got such a great opportunity on such a big stage,” said Taillon, the Pirates' No. 2 pitching prospect. “I'm really looking forward to it. Going into it, (we've) just got an attitude that we've got nothing to lose, go out there, give it everything, and it's in our hands now.”
Manager Clint Hurdle said beginning Monday he will start having pitchers hit instead of using a designated hitter. If they travel to an American League team, he said, the team still may use a designated hitter if the pitcher isn't someone they expect to be in the rotation.
Second baseman Chase d'Arnaud injured his left thumb during a rundown drill Saturday morning and was scratched from the game. He was replaced in the lineup by Ivan De Jesus. D'Arnaud also was scheduled to play the Twins in Sunday's split-squad game. … Anderson Hernandez injured his right shoulder during Friday night's game and was scratched from Sunday's game against the Twins. … Garrett Jones still is not swinging the bat. The first baseman said he continues to feels discomfort in his left oblique when he coughs deeply and won't be allowed to increase his activity until that goes away. ... Pitching coach Ray Searage said Francisco Liriano's arm strength has built up quickly. “More so than I would have imagined when he first came here,” Searage said. “But that's good. I want them to blow up schedules.”
Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at email@example.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.
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